The Daily Beast recently took a look at the privacy policy for Samsung's Smart TV, and found an interesting acknowledgement in the section of the policy devoted to voice recognition.

"To provide you the voice recognition feature, some voice commands may be transmitted (along with information about device, including device identifiers) to a third-party service that converts speech to text or to the extent necessary to provide the voice recognition features to you," the policy states. "In addition, Samsung may collect and your device may capture voice commands and associated texts so that we can provide you with voice recognition features and evaluate and improve the features."

"Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of voice recognition," the policy adds.

Corynne McSherry, intellectual property director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told the Daily Beast that customers should have a right to know who the third party in question is, and whether the voice commands are being transmitted securely.

In response, Samsung published a blog post stating, "Samsung takes consumer privacy very seriously and our products are designed with privacy in mind. We employ industry-standard security safeguards and practices, including data encryption, to secure consumers’ personal information and prevent unauthorized collection or use."

Samsung added that in order to clarify how the information is used, the privacy policy has been updated as follows: "To provide you the voice recognition feature, some interactive voice commands may be transmitted (along with information about your device, including device identifiers) to a third-party service provider (currently, Nuance Communications, Inc.) that converts your interactive voice commands to text and to the extent necessary to provide the Voice Recognition features to you. In addition, Samsung may collect and your device may capture voice commands and associated texts so that we can provide you with voice recognition features and evaluate and improve the features."

"Samsung will collect your interactive voice commands only when you make a specific search request to the Smart TV by clicking the activation button either on the remote control or on your screen and speaking into the microphone on the remote control," the updated policy adds.

RedSeal chief evangelist Steve Hultquist told eSecurity Planet by email that these revelations show how technology innovation is accelerating beyond our ability to understand its larger implications. "Furthermore, attacks and attackers continue to accelerate even faster, using automation and specialized technology to break protections," he said. "Defense has not kept up."

"Designing systems for security takes more work, and has been seen as slowing the pace of releasing new products," Hultquist added. "Yet, it's critical and the organizations building the technology into their products need to do more to protect them and their customers from potential threats."

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